News & Opinion | February 27, 2020 11:54 am

The Coronavirus Could Lead to a Diet Coke Shortage

You may have to switch to old-school, full-calorie Coke

Coronavirus Diet Coke Shortage
If coronavirus takes Diet Coke, it can take me with it.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The coronavirus has hit dating apps, and now it’s coming for Diet Coke.

This week, The Coca Cola Co. revealed it is experiencing coronavirus-related issues that could affect production and export of Diet Coke and other low-calorie beverages from China, USA Today reported.

The company said it relies on suppliers in the U.S. and China for sucralose, an artificial sweetener, and other raw materials critical to Diet Coke production.

“As a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 … our suppliers in China have experienced some delays in the production and export of these ingredients,” Coca-Cola wrote in an annual financial filing.

However, while this news may be alarming to Diet Coke fanatics, the company said it has enacted “contingency supply plans,” and does not foresee any “short-term impact due to these delays.”

That said, we may not be out of the Diet Coke-devoid woods yet. While the company isn’t worried about short-term effects, there may still be long-term consequences on the horizon, with Coca-Cola warning that it may grapple with “tighter supplies” of some of the crucial sugar substitutes in the longer term “should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”

The beverage manufacturer is also predicting the coronavirus will negatively affect financial results for the first quarter of 2020.

“While we currently expect this business disruption to be temporary, there is uncertainty around its duration and its broader impact, and therefore the effects it will have on our business,” the company wrote in the annual report. “However, based on our current expectations, we believe this disruption will negatively impact our unit case volume and financial results for the first quarter of 2020. At this time, we do not expect this disruption to have a significant impact on our full year 2020 unit case volume or financial results.”

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